Hindtuva group Sanatan Sanstha loses defamation case against Juggernaut Books, its author
The plea, moved in 2018 had sought Rs 10 crore as damages, but was rejected after proceedings on February 15.
A Goa court dismissed a civil defamation suit filed by Hindutva organisation Sanatan Sanstha, against publishing house Juggernaut Books and author Dhirendra K Jha for publishing and sale of the book ‘Shadow Armies: Fringe Organisations and Foot Soldiers of Hindutva’.
The plea, filed in 2018 had sought Rs 10 crores in damages claiming that the book defames Hindutva organisations.
Juggernaut book called this order "a victory for the right to freedom of speech".
Great news for @juggernautbooks and our authors dhirendra Jha. 2 years ago santan Sanstha Sued us for 10 cr. We fought and won. We will continue to fight for writers and publishers right to tell stories and be heard. https://t.co/BCZqL4QsMs— Chiki Sarkar (@Chikisarkar) March 3, 2020
The publisher of Juggernaut Books, Chiki Sarkar, and CEO, Simran Khara, said ‘At our core we believe that books, authors and ideas must be defended against attempts to silence, censor, ban and injunct. It can be intimidating to face multi-million-dollar lawsuits but in this instance at least the courts have really come through for us and we are overjoyed by the judgment.’
The author Dhirendra K. Jha said, ‘I feel a sense of relief and vindication. Persons who feel deeply uncomfortable by my research and my work attempted to silence me by alleging defamation and unleashing a punishing process on me and my publisher. But truth is a defence against defamation and, in this case, justice and the truth have thankfully prevailed.’
Sanatan Sanstha is a Hindutva group whose members and associates have been linked with the murders of rationalist thinkers such as Narendra Dabholkar, MM Kalburgi, Gauri Lankesh and Govind Pansare. The organisation has a history of filing civil and criminal cases against journalists, editors and activists.
Jha's book seeks to piece together the hidden links of Hindutva organisations like thise with the official Sangh Parivar. He argues that even as they are non-committal about these links, these fringe bodies do the “dirty work” of polarisation for the Sangh Parivar.